For I know the plans I have for you, declared the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.
You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe. Every day was recorded in your book.
I hope that I have fulfilled the encyclopedic volume of my life, which God planned.
Bossier City, LA
Coy Mae Hines Ward Cooper, local businesswoman and trail-blazing civic leader, passed away on February 27, 2022, leaving an extraordinary life which was filled with hard work, laughter and amazing adventures.
Services will be at First United Methodist Church of Bossier, 201 John Wesley Blvd, Bossier City, Louisiana at 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 9 with interment at Hill Crest Cemetery. The family will receive friends at Rose-Neath Funeral Home, 2201 Airline Drive, Bossier City, Louisiana on Tuesday, March 8 from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm.
She was born in Mooringsport, LA on April 3, 1924 to Mary Emma Hucklebridge, an accomplished pianist who played between programs at KRMD Radio, and Dan Hines, one of the first Texas Rangers who was commended for his 'meritorious service rendered' in the cleanup of 'lawless San Augustine' in the 1930's, was inducted into the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame in San Antonio, who coordinated the first rodeo at Madison Square Gardens, and who managed the Brahman cattle operation on Lutcher Stark estates in Orange, TX. Coy's stepfather, Harry Bonham, worked in the booming oil field business until his death. God's plan for Coy included giving her strong parents and a loving stepfather who raised her as if she was his own.
Coy and her family followed the oil boom, settling in Welch, LA, where she graduated from high school at age 16. While there, she played basketball, was a cheerleader and on the Yearbook staff, and won the Jefferson Davis Parish Oratorical Contest. "Singing, dancing, and chattering is her diet," according to her 1940 yearbook. Her first job (at age 15) was working for a lawyer, putting stamps on envelopes. When she didn't do the job to his satisfaction, he made her cut them all off and re-glue each one. She has never put a stamp on crooked again. Her compensation? Fifty cents per hour - a fortune for a young girl.
Next, she worked at "Pat's Café" in Welsh, feeding lunch to the oil field crews. Within a few months, Miss Pat made Coy 'the boss' and she ran the café until her marriage to John Lowry Ward, a petroleum engineer she met there. They moved with the industry until after their first child, Robert Lowry Ward, was born, and Coy returned home to live with her mother during her second pregnancy.
After the birth of John Harrison Ward, she went to work as a lab assistant at the Arkansas Fuel Oil Company in Bossier City, LA, near where the Patterson Insurance Building sits today on the corner of Old Minden Road and Hamilton.
Later, first as a civilian, then as a WAC (Women's Army Corp), Coy was assigned to the medical unit at the Harmon General Hospital in Longview, TX. Upon leaving the service, she took a job as a fiscal accountant for the Veterans Administration in Shreveport.
After the war, she and John Ward divorced. "John was a fine man. I was just too young to understand what marriage was all about."
Coy doesn't believe in marrying young to this day.
She married George Cooper, superintendent of the Arkansas Fuel Oil Company, in 1946 and they enjoyed fifty years of marriage before his death. They lived in plant housing where Rusheon Junior High School is now on Old Minden Road in Bossier City, before buying one hundred acres northeast of I-220 and Stockwell Road on what is now Coy Road. They leased another three hundred acres and raised cattle and boys.
"Raising our boys on the ranch was the right thing to do. They learned to work hard, and that experience has made them all good men." One of her grandsons, Scott Ward, visited M. L. Leddy's Boot and Saddle Makers in Fort Worth, TX several years ago and found they still had Coy's boot measurements and copies of the orders for the boots they'd hand-made for her during her time as a rancher.
While they lived on the ranch, they installed one of the first irrigation systems in Bossier Parish. The ranch was sold to a developer after George's health deteriorated and is now the site of Brookhaven Subdivision.
Coy worked as office manager and accountant for Shreveport Sash and Door Company, before becoming a part-owner. Later, she, Bruce and Donny Logan, and Nancy Barnett formed Builders Millwork. After a few years, they purchased and operated Bolinger Millwork and Supply Company in Bossier City. She also was a partner with Randy Wright in the J.R. Wright Construction Company.
Coy became involved in parish politics in 1981 when she was nominated as the first woman to serve on the Bossier Parish Levee Board by Louisiana State Representative, the late Walter Bigby, and appointed by Governor Edwin Edwards. An avid and energetic advocate for doing what was necessary to make sure that the levees were safe for everybody, she "walked all the darn levees, I'll tell you that much!"
They cleaned up Loggy and Shell Bayous, working to ensure the levees would prevent flooding in areas where subdivision sits now. She's very proud of her work with the board because, "if this hadn't been done, Bossier City would have suffered greater flooding and hardship."
The Levee Board experience was just the first of her many civic accomplishments. Coy became the first woman on the Red River Waterway Commission and served as Treasurer and Financial Officer. When funding 'dried up' and the huge Federal government project was in danger of not being completed, she spoke before Congress in March of 1991 to seek funding of $122 million for the lock and dam system on the Red River in Northwest Louisiana. The money was granted, and the locks and dams are in use today, bringing economic growth and development, riverbank stability, and flood control to our area.
Her accomplishments also include:
Instrumental in creating the Red River National Wildlife Refuge on the Arthur Teague Parkway, south of Jimmy Davis Bridge.
The only woman chairman of the Board of Directors of the Greater Bossier Economic Development Foundation. As a member of this Foundation, she participated in the Bossier/Shreveport International Mission to Tokyo, Japan in 1989 to discuss trade collaboration.
Coy was president of the Industrial Bond Board. Bonds for $40 million were issued in 1979 to provide reduced-interest home mortgage loans. In 1992, outstanding bonds were refinanced, with a savings of $4 million, which was used to help construct the Arthur R. Teague Parkway.
Chairman of the Federal Legislation committee for the Bossier City Chamber of Congress.
Realtor with Butcher and Slack.
Notary Public for Bossier Parish.
Chairman of the Bossier Public Trust and Industrial Development Board.
Named as an ex-officio advisor to the Home Rule Charter Commission of Bossier City by late Mayor James Cathey in 1975, to represent women. This Charter, written and approved by the citizens of Bossier City, is "perhaps the most important document in the history of our city." The structure created, a "Strong Mayor-Council Form of Government", still governs Bossier City today. Coy and the late Judge Dewey Burchett were responsible for the sections on standard financial procedures and public affairs.
Was made Honorary Secretary of State of Louisiana in 1982.
Member of the Louisiana Governor's Committee of One Hundred in 1985, on which she and the late Virginia Shehee served on together.
Honorary Bossier Parish Sheriff's Deputy.
Honorary City Marshall of Bossier City.
YMCA Woman of the Year in 2004.
Secretary of the Community Development Committee of Bossier City.
Served on Barksdale Forward - biggest accomplishment was keeping Barksdale Air Force Base in the Shreveport/Bossier City area.
Listed in Who's Who in American Women - 1968 and 1969.
Listed in Who's Who in the World of Finance and Industry - 1970 and 1971.
She was one of four persons in the state of Louisiana recognized by the Louisiana Industrial Development Executives Association as a finalist for its 1991 Civil Award.
In 1994, she was honored with the Athena Award, given by the Business Development Connection of the Greater Bossier City Chamber of Commerce, only the second Bossier-ite to receive it. This award is given to women who excel in their creativity, wisdom, and initiative in business. The Shreveport Times of
September 3, 1975 stated that Coy was one of three Bossier City women who proved, due to her business acumen that "more women need to be engaged in public affairs" which had historically been dominated by men. "We more or less opened doors for women because the women's liberation movement is unnecessary. Women already have the freedom they need to prove their worth." Coy was most honored to receive this award, feeling that it was equivalent to the Academy Award.
Elected to the Bossier City Council as Member at Large in 1997, Coy assisted in: the CenturyLink Center; the Louisiana Boardwalk; the Benton Road overpass; the renovation of Old Bossier; Bossier Medical Center; the Viking Drive extension; the Arthur Teague Parkway extension; and many other smaller projects. "Some of the decisions we made while I was on the Council were controversial, but we did what we thought was right for the community and, in hindsight, many of our most difficult choices have made Bossier prosper. One of my main goals was to make Bossier City its own entity, to separate us from Shreveport. This group of council members was the start of it."
She would like to thank her many mentors and leaders of the community and state who assisted her through her many years of public service. She said often in interviews that, even with all her civic duties and work, that family always came first. Weekends were for her husband. "A good husband is one to cherish, not disregard." She loved to entertain family and friends and did her own cooking. George supported all her efforts and told her, if she was going to perform public service, to help make a difference and to not ever be a chair warmer.
Coy has been a member of the First United Methodist of Bossier City since 1953. "My service to my church was just as rewarding as any honor I've received."
She's served as a member and chairman of the Finance Committee, Board of Trustees, and Endowment Committee, as secretary of the Administrative Board, and as Treasurer. "One of my biggest thrills was the seventeen years I served as Treasurer, especially during the move of the church from Ogilvie Street in Old Bossier to its present location on John Wesley Boulevard and Old Minden Road."
During the building phase of the church, she and the late Ed Beck supervised the construction of the present sanctuary by allowing the congregation to lend money towards a Building Fund at a higher rate of interest than they could get from a bank. It was to be paid back in five years, but it only took three years.
Coy has sung in the Chancel and Circuit Rider Choirs for most of those sixty-five years and is a member of the Parker Sunday School class. She's also received numerous awards for bible study participation, and many other honors over her long tenure, enjoying every moment of her study of God's word.
She was appointed Finance Chair Emeritis in 2017 by Reverend Karl Klaus. She firmly believes that if we give to God, we will receive ten-fold and more back. "People are missing out of so much by not working together with other believers in their church."
"I admired and learned from all of the ministers I worked with over the years. I think everyone should make an effort to know their pastors through service on committees and attendance in church so that they may find camaraderie and comfort in times of need."
She feels that God guided her to make the final approach to her life by moving to the Bloom Assisted Living in South Bossier City, even though she was still very independent. "Just another wonderful phase, learning activities outside of my 'normal' life when I didn't have as much time to enjoy art, games, and music." Even in her later years, her desire to help others was obvious. She was elected to be the advocate between residents and management. She has been very happy and loves the staff. Special thanks to Laurie, Amanda, and Carly who always had time to listen to me, and Beth for all the paper copies.
Coy loved her family and particularly joyful memories were her opportunity to have annual lunches with her sons on their birthdays, remembering the "good old days", and to see granddaughters, Kelly and Melissa, presented as Mardi Gras princesses in Washington, D.C.
The annual Christmas get-together of all the family members has meant the world to Coy and has been going on since 1954.
Coy would like to express her gratitude for the loving and competent care of her doctors, Dr. Turakhia, Dr. Cole, Dr. Nathan, and Dr. Acurio, and to the excellent staff at Regional Hospice.
Coy is preceded in death by her parents and stepfather; first husband, John Lowry Ward; second husband, George H. Cooper; stepson, George H. Cooper, Jr.; and sisters, Betty Bonham Allen and Cherie Hines Harrison. She is survived by sons, Jimmy Cooper, Robert Ward and wife, Linda, John Ward; nieces, Sharon Roy, Holly Harrison Waligura; nephew Hines Harrison; grandchildren, Melissa Solomon and husband, David, Kelly Bond and husband Trace, John Ward and wife, Lisa, Scott Ward and wife, Ellie, Michael Ward and wife, Tabitha; great-grandchildren, Georgia Bond, Matthew Bond, Jackson Greemon, James Halphen, Caleb Ward, Zachary Ward, Adam Ward, Madaline Pang, Ashley Ward, Jonathan Ward, Grant Solomon, Seth Carter and Meagan Pittman; and special daughters-in-law, Jane Cooper and Judy Shepherd. Also, special cousins Dr. John Hucklebridge and wife, Teena, Robert Hucklebridge, Donna Hoeft and husband, Jimmy Kelly, and Jody Guinn.
Honoring Coy as pallbearers will be her nine great-grandsons: Matthew Bond, Jackson Greemon, James Halphen, Caleb Ward, Zachary Ward, Adam Ward, Jonathan Ward, Grant Solomon and Seth Carter. Serving as honorary pallbearers will be four great-granddaughters: Georgia Bond, Ashley Ward, Madaline Pang and Meagan Pittman.
Special remembrance to The Parker Sunday School Class, of which she was a member for over twenty years, the Souper Saturday volunteers, the Bloom Bell Choir, and the Bloom Beanbag Baseball members.
In lieu of flowers the family suggest that memorials may be made to First United Methodist Church of Bossier Helping Hands ministries or the Organ fund, 201 John Wesley Blvd, Bossier City, Louisiana 71112.